March 2, 2017

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

The Washington Post reports that Jeff Sessions lied to Congress about his contact with Russian officials during the campaign. This morning he offered to recuse himself from investigations of Russia’s involvement in the election. 

Jake Tapper talks about the attacks on the press on The Daily Show, insists that CNN needs no special access to the White House and that CNN is “kicking ass.” Plus he confesses to Botox.

CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism announces the winners of the latest round of Forkosch Awards, the best secular humanist books and articles. 

Susan Gerbic, the skeptic wikipedian, explains in Skeptical Inquirer what drives her work in this arena: “I want people to know our history, to be inspired by our spokespeople as I am.”

Looks like we have a new claim to “oldest fossils ever” with this discovery of what might have been microbes in the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, which is an amazing name for anything and I’m almost more excited about that than the fossil thing.

The Philippines has an HIV/AIDS crisis, and they just scrapped a program to teach teenage kids about prevention. Why? “The plan was opposed by a coalition of parents, the Roman Catholic Church and conservative politicians.” 

Voice of America notes that two years after the murder of Avijit Roy, little has been done to bring those responsible — of this and the murders that followed — to justice. Add to this mix Bangladesh’s Information and Communications Technology Act that punishes speech critical of religion with bug prison sentences.

Echo Huang at Quartz looks at how China has no patience for almost any religion, save for Buddhism and Taoism, which it considers “Asian religions.” 

Michael De Dora is representing CFI in Geneva right now at the UN Human Rights Conference. Before he left, he gave us the latest Advocacy Update

Blunt advice from the Boston Globe‘s consumer alert reporter Sarah Shemkus on homeopathy:

If your natural instinct is to go natural when it comes to the treatment of a medical condition — especially one affecting a child — you should disregard it. 

The Good Thinking Society in the UK calls out Oxford for playing host to a homeopaths’ conference

Sharon Ko at KENS in Texas looks at decline of formal religion among millennials

That gray smudge on a grainy black-and-white picture zoomed in from an almost totally-dark image is obviously Bigfoot.  

Twitter is rolling out new features for folks to deal with trolls and abuse, including an “egg filter.” 

Snope for Pope:

The Pope didn’t directly say that it was better to be an atheist than a “bad” (or “greedy” or “hypocritical”) Catholic or Christian. Rather, the Pope was repeating a common phrase commenting on Catholics who conduct their lives in ways contrary to their faith. 

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have is the brain of Pat Robertson, everything looks like Satan

Quote of the Day:

Shock of shocks, the Vatican commission on sexual abuse by priests is getting so much resistance from the Vatican itself that one of the members, abuse victim Marie Collins, resigned:

I feel I have no choice but to resign if I am to retain my integrity. [The lack of action] is a reflection of how this whole abuse crisis in the church has been handled: with fine words in public and contrary actions behind closed doors. … I find it impossible to listen to public statements about the deep concern in the church for the care of those whose lives have been blighted by abuse, yet to watch privately as a congregation in the Vatican refuses to even acknowledge their letters! 

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Photo credit: arbyreed via / CC BY-NC-SA

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